Chennai: AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran on Thursday hinted at a rapprochement with expelled leader O Panneerselvam, saying the party would "accept with motherly affection" anybody who had gone out of the "parent organisation" and wanted to return.
Addressing reporters after formally taking over, he also fended off criticism that he was elevated "suddenly", saying he had been brought into the party by the late Chief Minster J Jayalalithaa in the early days itself and that he had been given various party posts and even made an MP by her.
Asked about Panneerselvam's plans to conduct state-wide campaign against the present AIADMK leadership, Dinakaran said the party had faced "betrayals" in the past too, but had successfully overcome them.
However, referring to the defection of MLAs and MPs to the Panneerselvam camp, he said that some had "lost their way and moved away from the mother movement."
"We have the confidence that anybody who had left the mother movement will return to our fold," Dinakaran said.
Asked if Panneerselvam would also be allowed to return, he said "the party will receive with motherly affection and accept anybody who had left the parent organisation."
His comments come in the wake of Panneerselvam's expulsion by AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala following his revolt against her in the wake of her election as AIADMK Legislature Party leader on 5 February.
Panneerselvam, who had quit as Chief Minister then, had revolted against her, alleging he was forced to step down to make way for her.
Sasikala was convicted by the Supreme Court in an assets case on 14 February and is lodged in the central jail at Parapana Agrahara near Bengaluru.
To a question on who was his party's main rival -- DMK leader MK Stalin or Panneerselvam, Dinakaran insisted it was DMK as AIADMK had been founded by the late M G Ramachandran against that very party and its chief M Karunandihi.
"You must have seen in the Assembly also. They tried to use Panneerselvam to topple the government but failed. You are seeing the daily dramas being enacted by Stalin. AIADMK was founded against DMK and they are our main rival," he said.
He said Stalin was "dejected" that he could not "topple" the AIADMK government and was therefore doing things like staging a hunger strike or flying to Delhi to meet President Pranab Mukherjee.
Stalin had earlier left for Delhi to apprise the President on the incidents that unfolded during the February 18 floor test won by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, amidst en masse eviction of DMK.
On the trust vote issue, Dinakaran insisted that Speaker P Dhanapal had conducted the House as per rules and charged the DMK with trying to incite violence.
"Stalin wanted to incite violence and topple the government. All the AIADMK MLAs proved that the party is Amma's fortress and behaved with military discipline. So Stalin's outbursts (on the matter) are due to his dejection and failure. And that is why he has gone to Delhi," he said.
The government will continue to function normally and deliver public welfare measures, said Dinakaran, appointed by Sasikala as her deputy a day after she was convicted in the Rs 66 crore Disproportionate Assets case by the Supreme Court.
He also denied any influence of Sasikala or her family in the party or the government.
Blaming opposition parties, including DMK, for carrying out a 'false campaign' in this regard, he said AIADMK and its led government was being run by "1.5 crore party supporters."
"No individual or family has ever dominated in the past nor will we allow it to be done in the future," he added.
He also denied he was 'suddenly' elevated in the party, following his re-induction last week by Sasikala, saying he had enjoyed various party posts during Jayalalithaa's time in the past and that she had even made him an MP.
"Amma had asked me to stay away (from politics) for a while and I obeyed her words like a true soldier which is my duty. Chinnamma (Sasikala) re-inducted me after a plea from some party functionaries," he said.
On February 15, Sasikala had announced that Dinakaran, her nephew and a former Rajya Sabha member, was being re-inducted and appointed as the party's Deputy General Secretary, a move that raised many an eyebrow.
Jayalalithaa had in 2011 expelled Sasikala, her husband M Natarajan and Dinakaran, besides some of their other relatives from AIADMK for reportedly interfering in party and government affairs.
Sasikala had a few months later apologised and returned, but the others remained expelled. However, she re-inducted Dinakaran and another relative S Venkatesh after they expressed 'regret' for their past action.
To a query, Dinakaran said there was no "public anger" against his party or the government and assured it would continue its winning run in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well as the 2021 Assembly polls.
Updated Date: Feb 23, 2017 17:54 PM